BEST BUY AWARD 2013 Winner: MAZDA CX-5 2.5 Litre SkyActiv AWD

TMR Team | Jan 13, 2014

BEST BUY AWARD 2013: Winner - MAZDA CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv AWD Wagon

Our winner, TMR’s BEST BUY, our choice for ‘car of the year of 2013’ is the Mazda CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv petrol.

In the tightest-ever year of our BEST BUY Award, when the buying value of new car releases has arguably never been better, Mazda’s CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv stands tallest.

Few cars find the pulse of the Australian buyer quite like the Mazda CX-5.

For what it offers ‘middle Australia’, Mazda’s CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv petrol AWD wagon is the BEST BUY of the moment, and the BEST BUY of the model releases of 2013.

CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv Hits the Bullseye

At $32,880, the CX-5 Maxx 2.5 litre SkyActiv offers all-wheel-drive and a six-speed auto as standard, along with space for a family, supple on-road comfort, a smart appealing interior and equally appealing on-road dynamics.

When released in February 2013, the updated and more powerful CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv - with 138kW and 250Nm under the bonnet - transformed a very good car into a better one.

On road, petrol or diesel, Mazda’s CX-5 shines; it has won plaudits everywhere for its on-road stability and poise, sporting feel and the sheer enjoyment it offers at the wheel.

For finish, quality feel, versatility and driving dynamics, this car is one we comfortably commend to friends and family.

And it looks as ‘right’ with a surfboard up top, as it does with a family within. The CX-5 effortlessly straddles the widest of buyer demographics.

More powerful than the 2012-released 2.0 litre, but with little penalty in fuel consumption, the CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv petrol returns a listed fuel consumption of 7.4 l/100km, seriously diminishing the case for the diesel (which comes at a premium of nearly $3000).

And it’s a safe purchase.

While very sure-footed in marginal conditions, thanks to the all-wheel-drive grip and inherent balance, the CX-5 comes with front, front-side and full-length curtain airbags plus standard anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control and a reversing camera.

With an overall score of 35.1 out of 37, ANCAP awarded the Mazda a maximum 5-Stars for safety.

Mazda’s CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv petrol wagon has answers everywhere you look - both for family buyers and young singles.

Intelligently conceived top to bottom, inside and out, it offers proven Mazda durability and a frugal thirst. It is the car for today, and for tomorrow.

We are proud to award Mazda’s CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv AWD Wagon TMR’s BEST BUY AWARD of 2013.

This car, above all new releases of 2013, we commend most strongly to car buyers in 2014. It is the BEST BUY of the moment, and a profoundly worthy winner in a very strong field.

Our Runners-Up

Of a shortlist of ten, standing on the dais alongside the winning Mazda CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv wagon, there were two other releases of 2013 that, in the judgment of TMR's writers and reviewers, stood above an incredibly strong field .

One, in particular, the VF Commodore, after thousands of kilometres at the wheel, had us pondering late into the night.

Holden VF Commodore

Edged out by the value and versatile packaging of the AWD CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv petrol, Holden’s thoroughly competent VF Commodore is exceptional buying, superb on road and extraordinarily well-kitted.

Priced for $34,990 (plus on-roads) for the entry-level Evoke, it offers a lot of car for the money.

Across the VF Commodore range, it brims with smart technologies and premium apps like the MyLink infotainment system, iPod integration and Apple Siri Eyes Free, enhanced voice recognition and Bluetooth audio streaming, among a longer list of premium features.

In this, for features, it betters the CX-5 2.5 litre SkyActiv, and has bigger and more powerful engines.

But time has caught up with big sedans and wagons.

The smart versatile CX-5 speaks to families and younger buyers in a language now lost to the Commodore.

It cannot match the CX-5’s versatility, for Mazda’s lean ‘future proof’ SkyActiv technologies, and for the airy spaciousness it offers in a smaller, more appealing and better-value package.

Renault Clio

Priced from just $16,790 for the TCe 90, the Renault Clio is a real surprise in size, performance and packaging.

Absolutely one of the best value buys of the year, the smart little Clio is comfortable on-road and surprisingly zesty.

Even the smaller three-cylinder 0.9 litre engine, with 66kW and 135Nm, goes about things with an eager willingness that belies its size.

Larger in nearly every way than most in the ‘light car’ segment, and with a really classy interior, it feels a more expensive car than the numbers on the sticker would suggest.

Offering on-road balance and refinement that is a generation better than its closest Korean and Japanese competitors, it is also laden with technologies.

Standard fare includes a seven-inch touch display with Bluetooth calling/audio connectivity, USB/iPod ports, MEDIA NAV and R-Link systems (in Expression and Dynamique models) which also includes sat-nav.

Then add keyless entry, fuel-saving, stop/start and an eco-driving guidance display, hill-start assist, cruise control, air-con, height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, electric door mirrors, and electric front windows.

The Clio is simply great buying: it’s a car you will love, and a sure sign of good things to come from Renault.


This is the fifth year of an annual Award from The Motor Report, a top ten automotive website and the ONLY site in the top ten that has relied solely on ‘search’ and organic growth to achieve its ranking.

The TMR 'BEST BUY' award was previously conferred on New Year’s Eve, but is now announced mid-January. It is awarded to the car that, in the view of our road testers and writers, wins on a ‘BEST BUY’ comparison across the major market segments.

To be in contention for The Motor Report ‘Best Buy Award’, a car must:

  • Be enjoyable at the wheel
  • Offer well-balanced and predictable driving dynamics
  • Be comfortable and well-finished inside and out
  • Offer outstanding value in features and performance
  • Have been released in the preceding calendar year

Previous winners and what we said then:

2012: Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ

“Developed co-jointly, this pair simply astonishes for buying value.

“Spend some time at the wheel, and you’ll get out of either one scratching your head, “How is this possible: a car this good, this complete... and at this price?”

“The 86 and BRZ are simply head and shoulders above all comers for sheer buying value and capability.”

2011: Ford Ranger/Mazda BT-50

“Not one car, but two - joined at the hip in development, and head and shoulders above all in their segment.

“The best value buy of the moment and, in our view, the most versatile as a family car, as a recreation vehicle, as a tough workhorse and, in fact, the best new car release of 2011 is the Ford Ranger Double Cab ute, and its Mazda twin, the BT-50 Dual Cab.”

2010: Toyota Hybrid Camry

“Refined at the wheel, comfortable, quiet, with a drive experience well-adapted for Australia’s varying road conditions - and with fastidious build quality and attention to detail - the Hybrid Camry is very sharply priced and a landmark achievement for Toyota Australia.”

2009: Multiple Best Buy Awards across each of the vehicle segments (revised the following year).

Filed under: Featured, Mazda, suv, News, mazda cx-5, family, medium, tmr best buy, Advice, special-featured, mazda cx-5 2-5

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  • Yamo Tin Panagia says,
    2 years ago
    The CX5 is the best medium SUV. In terms of value, the new Honda CRV kills it with a street price easily $4k less for a comparative model. The CRV also has a bigger boot.
    • Balthazaaaaargh says,
      2 years ago
      Yeah but the award is an overall thing - perhaps TMR also prefers the way the CX-5 drives.
      • Chest Rockjaw says,
        2 years ago
        I compared both these SUVs and the CX5 is a little better in the driving, it uses a bit less fuel, it looks good, uses a conventional park brake and is made in Japan. To counter this the CRV is bigger, especially the boot and is thousands cheaper. It's a question how much you value the CX5s attributes. If the Mazda was street priced a couple of grand less I'd buy the Mazda... However the street price difference is more like $4k, Honda is hungry for sales, so on this basis the Honda is the winner in my book.
    • Tim O'Brien says,
      2 years ago
      Hmm, Yamo and Chest, might do to check the pricing and specs comparison.

      You can do this off TMR: at the bottom of the 'Executive Summary' box (at the head of reviews except those for recently-released models) there's a link SEE FULL VEHICLE SPECS.

      Using this link, you can line up four models side by side and compare specs and pricing data.

      The reason I mention it is because your information isn't correct.

      The comparable CRV; ie. the 2.4 litre AWD (not the 2.0 litre FWD which we'd otherwise align with the 2.0 litre CX-5 FWD) has a list price of $32,790 - just $90 less than the CX-5 2.5 litre AWD awarded here.

      We like the CRV; we would have hoped for a better interior feel and a little less road noise, but it's otherwise an appealing drive, looks good and is a good value buy.

      It's certainly worth a look; we don't, not by any means, think that our view is the last word on anything.

      We just try to put things under 'a buyers microscope' and weigh things up fairly (and we do spend thousands of kilometres at the wheel of all of these cars).

      But, at the end of the day, it's just an opinion. And readers and buyers will have different priorities and, of course, different views.

      In this case, in our view, the CX-5 2.5 litre AWD wagon has a clear edge.

      But we enjoy the banter...

      • Guest says,
        2 years ago
        1 like
        They both said street price Tim.
    • Damian says,
      2 years ago
      CX5 is better than CRV. i'm a neutral, don't own either, but have test driven both. Mazda is a much better drive, and has a better interior. Should have got a CX5.
  • Guest says,
    2 years ago
    Not a bad decision as it's a good example of its type and they are a popular choice for those with 1 or 2 young kids but several times you describe it as versatile when really it's a tall hatch back. The vf is far more versatile as can fit 3 child seats across the back, much bigger load area on sportwagon, better for towing, much easier to reach roof racks when loading heavy items, leg room for adults in the back, front seat legroom when a baby capsule is in the back, and not to mention nicer to drive. I would argue that cx5 is not as versatile or fun to drive as 6 wagon or even an aging 3.

    I think you are confusing trendy ride height and the marketing excitement of 4x4 and the lifestyle it promises with actual useage - you know the stats on how many of these actually go off road.
  • FrugalOne says,
    2 years ago
    No, no, the winner was the vw golf

  • beltedradial says,
    2 years ago
    Most of the new Mazdas are very well executed but what's with the servicing? Every six months? I hardly call that future proof, unless you are referring to the dealers bottom line.

    I'm glad this will change with future Mazdas, but the CX5 is bound.
    • Mike Stevens
      Mike Stevens [TMR] says,
      2 years ago
      Hi BR,

      The CX-5 will be rolled into Mazda's new service plan by the end of June, and existing owners will have the same option available to them by visiting their dealer to make arrangements.
    • alex92 says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      hi mate,
      I work at a Mazda Dealer in Sydney. We don't recommend servicing every 6 months unless that is what the owner feels necessary. Ultimately, this is a recommendation that comes from most vehicle manufacturers. 6months/10 000kms is a standard edition servicing schedule for the majority of japanese vehicles- although ultimately the wear and tear is put on a vehicle with km's, not age.

      SO, the actual servicing is every 10000kms- however because of the inherent reliability built into Mazdas, like Toyotas, you can afford to do the servicing every 15000kms if you like.

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